ACCESSION NUMBER:320131 FILE ID:POL503 DATE:01/07/94 TITLE:ETHNIC CONFLICTS POSE GREAT CHALLENGE TO FUTURE EUROPE (01/07/94) TEXT:*94010703.POL ETHNIC CONFLICTS POSE GREAT CHALLENGE TO FUTURE EUROPE (Lake says Partnership for Peace will address concerns) (710) By Jacquelyn S. Porth USIA Security Affairs Correspondent Washington -- President Clinton's National Security Affairs (NSA) adviser Anthony Lake says potential ethnic conflicts and rampant nationalism represent "the greatest security challenge" to Europe now and in the future. In a White House interview with foreign journalists January 7, Lake said these challenges can best be addressed through the promotion of democracy and the Partnership for Peace (PFP) program -- a plan to draw the states of Central and Eastern Europe economically, politically and militarily into the West. Lake praised the cooperation of the defense ministers of the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary in their "common position" endorsing PFP January 7 in Warsaw. He described their endorsement of closer military links as "encouraging" and he said the PFP concept will help promote cooperation and stability in the region. The issue of possible future membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the official said, will be up to each government. "We...expect, hope for and would welcome NATO expansion," he explained, "through an evolutionary process such as the Partnership for Peace." PFP membership will be open to all former members of the Warsaw Pact, including Russia, Lake said, as well as neutral countries. The program is designed to be "an integrative device," the NSA adviser said, rather than a 1ivisive one. While membership will permit NATO consultations, he said it will not provide a formal security guarantee. PFP obligations, Lake explained, would include a commitment to democracy, peaceful conflict resolution, transparent defense budgets, joint training, humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping. The official said partnership is a way of opening a door to NATO membership, "and we expect and would welcome that governments will walk through that door." Asked about President Clinton's agenda at the upcoming NATO summit, Lake said the president will reemphasize that the United States will remain engaged in Europe "through NATO." The United States, he said, has a deep interest in European security and economic integration and the president will stress the importance of NATO as the lynchpin for that security. After Brussels, President Clinton travels to Prague to meet with Polish, Czech, Hungarian and Slovakian leaders. He then visits Moscow and Minsk, before wrapping up the trip in Geneva. Lake admitted that the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina "is very serious," but he stressed that it is "wrong to say we have turned our backs" on the people there. He expressed concern for Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia and the whole Balkans area. Regarding the recent upsurge of violence in Bosnia, Lake pointed to the NATO resolution warning of possible airstrikes against the Serbs if the strangulation of Sarajevo continues. "We hope the attacks of the past few days will cease," Lake said, adding that the NATO summit will be a tremendous success if it helps create institutions, such as PFP which will help prevent "future Bosnias." Asked about the continuing Russian troop presence in the Baltics, Lake said that subject has been raised many times with the Russians and would be raised once again when the president meets with Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Asked for his assessment of the Russian military, Lake noted that it has stood by democracy in the past eight months, which he found "encouraging" -- nor does he expect the situation to change. Lake also responded to questions about North Korea and Syria. Lake said that the U.S. strategic goal with respect to the Koreans is to work toward a Korean peninsula which "is free of nuclear weapons" and to encourage the North and South to work towards "peaceful reunification." The United States, he added, hopes to preserve the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime. Lake said the intelligence agencies have varying opinions on whether the North Koreans possess one or more nuclear devices. Asked about President Clinton's meeting with Syrian President Hafez Asad in Geneva on January 16, Lake confirmed that a discussion of terrorism will be on the agenda. Asked about a possible removal of Syria from the U.S. list of states which support terrorists, the adviser said Syria would be stricken from the list only "when its behavior justifies it." NNNN .